Ted Cruz calls for ISIS shutdown: 'We ought to...take them out'

Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

The Fine Print

With foreign policy suddenly on the front burner of domestic politics, Sen. Ted Cruz said it “increases my interest” in changing the direction of the country and running for the White House.

“Foreign policy has risen to the forefront, because it is clear that what we are doing isn’t working,” Cruz told “The Fine Print” during an interview in New Hampshire. “And I do think the American people in November 2014 and also November 2016 are going to be looking for leaders who want to work to restore America’s leadership in the world.”

Cruz stopped short of saying he will definitely seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but is elevating his criticism of President Obama and his strategy for the threat posed by Islamic extremists.

“So far, the president has not demonstrated that he’s taking ISIS seriously,” Cruz said.

“They have declared hostile intentions on the United States; they have murdered American citizens; and they are in the process of consolidating power over a nation state where they would have billions of dollars of oil revenue where they could use to project terror here,” Cruz said. “What we ought to have is a direct, concerted, overwhelming air campaign to take them out.”

While Cruz said he believes ISIS is in a vulnerable position at the moment, he said the opportunity to put the group into retreat is being squandered by the Obama administration.

“They’re not on the run, because the single greatest failing of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy is that it has been untethered to national security,” Cruz said. “They have approached foreign policy as a press release. We drop a bomb here; we fire a missile there to make a statement, rather than being directed from a clear concrete military objective that is directly tied to U.S. national security interests.”

Despite his call for a tougher approach to ISIS, Cruz said the White House should not take major military action without congressional approval.

“If there’s going to be prolonged military conflict, if there is time and it is feasible -- and now there is both time and it is feasible -- it is incumbent on the president to make the case to both Congress and the American people,” Cruz said.

On immigration reform, Cruz said Obama’s announcement that he will delay taking executive action until after the midterm elections “reflects an incredible cynicism towards the democratic process.”

“The cause of the humanitarian crisis at the border is President Obama’s amnesty -- that is the direct cause,” Cruz said. “The cynical part about it is that he announced this week he still wants to do that, but he’s going to wait until after the election in November, because he recognizes the American people don’t want amnesty.”

For more of the interview with Cruz, including his prediction for Republican success in the midterm elections, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”

ABC News’ Gary Westphalen and Arlette Saenz contributed to this episode.